I am seventeen and a friend of mine has gone to the hospital to have her stomach pumped. I am seventeen and a friend of mine has died in an alcohol-induced car crash. I am seventeen and a friend of mine has been raped while under the influence of alcohol.
The government would say I have stupid friends. The government would say my friends drank underage, put themselves in dangerous situations and did not act responsibly.
The government’s restriction on underage alcohol consumption has made it clear to teenagers that drinking underage is morally and lawfully wrong. Alcohol can stunt our mental and physical growth and it alters our judgment: it is bad for us. Well, so are Fruit Loops but that hasn’t prevented them from becoming a staple in a 7-year-old’s diet.
If a seventeen year old wants alcohol we either get a fake ID, ask someone over 21 to buy it for us, raid our parents liquor cabinet, or go to a foreign restaurant where the waiters don’t even know what “identification” means. We are forced to be sneaky, and because of this, we have to clue as to what in the hell we are doing. We have a bottle of Vodka. We drink it.
“What does 80 proof mean?”
“I dunno. That’s a B- though. Better drink more of it, maybe it’s not very strong.”
We get drunk off our asses. We vomit. We take advantage of the time we have to rebel against the authority that tells us its wrong. We drive. We crash. We kill people. We get raped. We drink too much because we were never taught how to drink responsibly.
My friends were not stupid: they were uninformed. Plain and simply, the government should not impose a law making it illegal for people under 21 years of age to consume alcohol. If alcohol was introduced as simply a part of culture, something to be enjoyed but not abused, there would not nearly be as many problems resulting from its consumption. The United States’ motor vehicle fatality rate is 45.8 percent higher than Germany’s even though Germany has no speed limits, and 70% of their drivers drink and drive.
Why? Because Americans are given mixed messages about alcohol. We are told it will make us popular, beautiful, and accepted. We are also told it is illegal, unhealthy and made for adults over 21. This just makes it more appealing.
I say children should be brought up drinking wine at dinnertime, having fun with mixed drinks when their friends come over, perhaps an occasional beer at a sports event. Alcohol is not bad for you; it is the government’s restriction that causes bad things to happen. If underage drinking were allowed, there would be no more sneaky alcohol runs and unsupervised parties. These encourage drinking and driving because teenagers cannot tell their parents, “Hey mom, I’m drunk. Please pick me up at 2:30 am.”
If the government made it legal for people under 21 to drink, alcohol might be more prevalent, but certainly not as highly sought after.
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